Win SDK Hidden Gems: Function Discovery Browser (fdbrowser.exe)

The Function Discovery API, introduced in Vista, serves as an abstraction layer between applications and devices. This API allows applications to discover devices by function rather than lower level details such as bus or connection type.

The Function Discovery Browser is a utility that displays information about devices in your local machine and connected via the network.

Its primary purpose is to assist driver and hardware developers to verify that programs accessing the Function Discovery API and hardware registering its attributes with the Function Discovery API are doing so correctly.


Layered categories are the namespaces of the abstract device types programmers would want to access.

Provider categories are namespaces of device and driver registrations.

For more information:

Using the Function Discovery Browser.

Function Discovery Overview.

The Function Discovery Browser may be found in the Windows SDK for Windows 7 default install location of "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0\Bin\fdbrowser.exe"

Curtis Smith
Windows C++ Team

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